Frustrated drivers could save £40 million if London’s traffic lights were switched off in the dead of night, a report concludes today. The study also claims shutting down some lights in the early hours would reduce air pollution as cars spent less time idling at red signals. It comes days after Boris Johnson kicked off a consultation on an “ultra low emission zone” which will see some vehicles hit with a £12.50 fee for entering central London. Author of the Green Light report and London Assembly Tory transport spokesman Richard Tracey said: “Every year Londoners waste over 170 million hours sitting in traffic, costing London’seconomy £4 billion. Many of these journeys in our city are unavoidable. But rather than hurting motorists with ridiculous charges and taxes, we should look at innovative ways to cut congestion and make traffic flow more smoothly. Turning off traffic lights at night, like they do in parts of Europe and North America, is one measure which would boost the economy and help the environment.”
The report finds that switching off lights between midnight and 6am across 80 per cent of London’s 2,532 relevant junctions would cut delays across the city by 2,251 hours a day. Taking into account government estimates of how much an hour of wasted time in traffic costs, plus fuel savings, the report finds drivers could save £40 million over the next four years. It would also mean savings for people taking cabs, along with quicker journeys for those on public transport. The report suggests junctions would first be assessed by inspectors and if safe, lights could be switched off at night where traffic flow substantially drops. Without lights, right of way at a junction would revert to the vehicle coming from the right as is currently the case at a roundabout. Mr Tracey’s report calls for a pilot which would see lights at 100 junctions turned off to test how the system works. Similar systems already operate in other EU countries, including Spain and France.
Labour London Assembly member Val Shawcross said: "Whilst this proposal may grab headlines, its disregard for driver and pedestrian safety is incredibly worrying. "London is a 24-hour city and many routes remain busy throughout the night, the idea that just because it's not the middle of the day we should turn off traffic lights just to save a few pounds is utterly reckless." She added the proposals "risks making after-dark death-traps of our roads." Leon Daniels, Managing Director of surface transport at Transport for London, said: "Traffic signals are vital to a safe and effective road network. They have been shown to offer significant safety and economic benefits for all road users, including pedestrians, if installed and operated effectively across the network at all times. "We are investing more than £4bn to improve London's roads. This includes upgrading our traffic lights with technology that can reduce delays for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, whilst maintaining their safety."
The traffic problems that have plagued the Oxshott area over the last few weeks seem to have abated, and 11 +1/2 Tables turned up to compete in the first Club Night of the new year!! You can read all about the evening's play in the Report by clicking on the "Competitions" tab in the Menu to the left of this box. Alternatively you can study the full Leaderboard and the individual Travellers by clicking on the "Latest Results" button at the top right of this page.